Microsoft® is making a big push to shift their customers to Azure® services. The Office® to Office 365™ transformation may be the most significant example of this. In the identity and access management (IAM) space, Microsoft is pushing their new solution Azure Active Directory® (Azure AD). Can Azure AD completely replace their on-prem solution, Active Directory (AD)? Which is better, AD or Azure AD?
In order to answer these questions, and to understand which Active Directory solution is better for your organization, it is important to understand how AD and Azure AD differ from one another.
The Differences Between AD and Azure AD
First, it’s important to know that Azure Active Directory is not Active Directory in the cloud. In other words, you can’t replace your on-prem Active Directory instance with Azure AD. Instead, the two solutions complement each other. You see, Microsoft isn’t ready to stop making a profit off of the on-prem solution, Active Directory. So, they don’t want you to replace AD but use AD in conjunction with Azure Active Directory. What would this setup look like in your IT environment?
Well, Active Directory would be your core identity provider, while Azure AD acts as the user management platform for Azure services and provides single sign-on to web applications. The thing is, this setup is really designed for Microsoft centric workplaces, and it doesn’t work well if you leverage non-Microsoft IT resources. For example, if you are trying to connect to G Suite™ , AWS®, Mac® and Linux® systems, or on-prem Linux-based applications, both Active Directory solutions struggle. Additionally, for those looking to move all of their IAM infrastructure to the cloud, Azure AD will not provide the control and visibility IT admins expect from a directory service.
For modern organizations making the shift to the cloud, there is a better approach to identity and access management than to rely on AD or Azure AD. The next generation approach for IT organizations is now to leverage a cloud identity management platform called JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®.
*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Natalie Bluhm. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/which-is-better-ad-or-azure-ad/